Sunday, October 29, 2006
My athiest's interest in myth and religion has brought me to shamanism; rather than tackle Eliade's mammoth book book I commenced with Harner. I like the fact that a PhD in anthropology became so involved in his subject as to become a practicing shaman himself, though of course one must throw any hope of an objective account of shamanic ritual out the window. If I were interested now in such an account I'd have turned first to Eliade (whose book, like 60% of my library, now rests crated in the basement in anticipation of moving).
Harner describes intimately the workings of shamanic rites and healing ceremonies, and even provides a gentle how-to manual for those desirous of finding their animal power. No, I did not beat a drum for twenty minutes and descend to the Underworld myself--2 years of living with a certain roommate whose name shall remain unspoken here (Kyle D) prevent me from similarly driving Cha up the wall. But perhaps I'll give the non-hallucinogenic approach to non-ordinary states of consciousness a try some day when zazen ceases to amuse, when s. div. fails to illuminate, when San Pedro's Torch gutters, and when hypnogogic techniques grow stale.
Dinner with K'wali and Klez last night--they've been saying we should move to quiet Rodgers Forge (the swanky southeastern side of Towson) in order to escape frat row, because they want more hipster artsy-fartsy pseudoinallectual neighbors. Well, frat row came to them earlier this week, as a 20-year-old drunken TU student drove his BMW at 90 MPH down their 30 MPH street, careening off of Klez's car (totaling it) and into three others parked across the street. Fortunately said drunken frat boy was unharmed--only several expensive machines were destroyed by his foolishness. No place in Towson is refuge from the growing student population of TU!